Monday, August 4, 2014

bookworms and such....

I have not completely given up on this blog, but it does seem as the time in between posting is further and further apart... I have been working along in the studio quilts have been finished another almost there... and in between the sewing there has been a great deal of gardening and enjoying the summer. Something about summer naturally makes for a slower pace, the long days must have something to do with that. I am off to the beach next week and am really looking forward to some time away by the water. Eventually the quilts will be photographed and posted as for now... some book talk! 

I was anticipating both of these books being released. They ended up coming a week apart and I really read both of them. With quilting books sometimes it is easy to flip through them and just look, but both of these ladies did an amazing job writing about the art of sewing quilts, and their passion came through the books. The first is Carolyn Friedlander's Savor Each Stitch, she was able to write about sewing from a fine art perspective. I think that is something that needs to be done more! I was so pleased with the writing, the quilts!!!! her work is brilliant! her fabric is brilliant! and hopefully one day I will meet her! the photography in the book was also lovely, all done locally to where she is from. I love that she is so passionate about her home, it makes me think of how I feel for Richmond. 
The second book is Make and Love Quilts, by Mary Fons, I began following her through her magazine Quilty, and have since started reading her blog. As a writer she is wonderful, it is really more what she began doing, and as a quilter I love her use of tradition in a modern way. 
These two books different as far as the quilts and projects go, but both ladies are a giant inspiration to me, and they help define the modern quilt world in the art world in my opinion. I will keep these two handy and refer to them often, they are must reads for modern quilting, sewists!

Monday, June 23, 2014


We went up to New York a few weeks ago to adventure around what they now call "downtown Brooklyn" and for a day with the brilliant Heather Ross. 

The Brooklyn flea is pretty amazing dealers from all over the place have great vintage and antique finds, as well as hand crafted furniture, jewelry, ceramics, and clothing. I was surprised by how clean all of the antiques were, it makes sense considering that the people of New York do not have yards to scrub down their purchases. It was just a big contrast to Va where you can find some great things but often times they require a scrub down. 

Williamsburg, Brooklyn at dusk was a really beautiful view of Manhattan and a nice time to sit and enjoy the summer night. Many people seem to come sit and relax here after dinner... pretty quiet, you almost forget you are in NY. (Finally used the panoramic feature on my phone).

Sunday I participated in an all day Heather Ross workshop. It was nice to meet one of my favorite textiles designers and some other talented illustrators. We crafted most of the day, and after lunch took a little walk down to the Seaport museum, above. They have printing presses that date back to the 1700's and the building itself is one of the oldest in Manhattan. It was a really beautiful place, and I got to stock up on some papers, tags.

Heather and I. 

Neat seat cushion made out of the new Heather Ross fabric. 

Before we left on Monday we stopped over in SOHO because no trip to NYC is complete without a stop at Purl. I stocked up on my Liberty fabrics and such. We also went to the Flatiron district and ran into the Fish Eddy's store, what a great selection of pottery and glassware! It was not my usual trip to New York, where I hide in the art museums all day, however it was lovely to eat the food, see where the locals are hanging out and enjoy the time away with Sandra. 


May and June have come and almost gone, and it seems that time has been fleeting away from me... The dahlias above are from my garden, which I need to get out there and photograph, this year it seems to be the prettiest it has ever been. I guess my mom was right, it takes time for the garden to establish itself. I have finished a quilt and am almost done with another quilt top, since last I wrote. Took a weekend away to NYC, and have been gardening a bunch. I often times want to write about things going on and instead have been using the time to sew and make. I do however need to photograph the finished quilt and post that... I love the longer days of summer and the possibilities of the day ahead. The heat definitely gets to me but sewist by day and gardener by evening!

Monday, April 28, 2014

losing the mind, such a great idea.

Last week I had a lot going on and I could not get myself to work on my current quilt project in the studio. So instead I lost my mind and started paper piecing 1/2" hexagons. To give you an idea to the size of these it is about the size of a nickle. I used all liberty fabric and make a patch of 12"by 20". I want to use this piece of fabric that I made to make a pillow for my bedroom. I want a really pretty pillow for a special spot in my bedroom and this seems like the perfect solution. I will say it was a little bit harder to work in this size but definetly not as bad as I thought it would be. I think working with a lawn fabric makes it easier because it bends and molds so smoothly. It was a great task that kept my hands busy and my mind clear. 

Still thinking about backs of things. 

Liberty is so amazing. 


A long, endless, bitter, cold winter finally came to an end, and what a lovely spring that came. These photos are from a couple of weeks ago, and the garden is much more advanced now, but I had to share my first blooms. The garden is the best it has ever been, and compared to the weeds that existed when we purchased the house, this is a vast improvement! Thanks to my mom and her willingness to divide and concur her own garden I have been gifted lots of the plants that I have, and I must say it is nice to know that it came from her home. 

The back wall has a lovely morning light cast on it. The clematis on the fence is now covering it, such a big difference two weeks make. 

Can't get enough of these! I love poppies and my Icelandic poppies are back full force this year too! 

 A perfect Camellia, even Coco Chanel would be proud. 

The succulent collection that I have been putting together is coming back nicely, I have a lot of different pots of them and some as ground cover too. I love the way that they look!  

My hybrid Camellia, half red half white. Makes me thinking of Alice in Wonderland when they have to paint the roses red. 

Miniature daffodils. So sweet. 

More miniatures. 

It has been nice to get back out there, play in the dirt and watch everything come back to life again. That is my favorite part of spring, makes winter almost worth waiting... almost. 

book worms

My sister came up with a challenge to a couple of us Harry Potter fans, starting April first we started reading from book one and we are reading all the way through to the end. Of course she already finished... I am in the middle of book two. One of my best friends gave me this awesome set of the books for my birthday last year and what a good time to break them in. I love the illustrations on the covers and the back of these each have another great image and a quote from the book. 
I have read the Harry Potter countless times, sometimes the entire series other times just parts of them, it has been a while though. I must say it is like meeting an old friend for coffee... picking up where you left off and before you know it three hours are gone... yep that is what reading HP is like. I had forgotten some of the details its great to get back into them, and I love a series!

Thought I would share my little guy, he was shivering the other day so this was our solution... and he resumed looking out the window. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014


It has been a long couple of months. The winter crept along slowly, and even though it is officially spring, we have only had a handful of those amazing Richmond spring days so far. Finally it looks like there is not a drop of snow on the forecast, insert me doing cart-wheels and back flips here (I can't do either, but use your imagination). Along with the weather I feel as if I have finally begun to accept that what is going on with my body is not going away. I have been vague on this blog, because I need to let things sink in before I expose everything to the world of the Internet, or really the whole world. Last year was rough I went to the Doctor more times that I ever have in my whole life. It was blood work after blood work and being sick every month, almost. At the end of the year I had not one but two bone marrow biopsy and even those proved to be strange and not completely full of answers. It is hard for me to have doctors tell me that they can not yet give what is happening a name, but that it is not going away, it makes my OCD tendencies go insane! To the point, what I am having issues with is my blood platelet levels... If you had asked me a year ago what a platelet did, I would simply say, help the blood clot. I had no idea that you could have too many or too little. In my case, I have way over the normal levels. I can live a normal life, but have to be more aware of my body. The most irritating symptoms I have shown are being tired and migraines so bad, that they wake me up out of a cold sleep. All of this has really taken some getting used to. Perhaps one of the hardest things to accept about all of this, is that there is little I can do, and there is no reason for it. 
It made a huge impact on my views towards living and how I really want to live my life. It gave me a kick in the ass to drop crappy habits, and start appreciating every day. I have heard of people going through cancer or other heath scares and how it changes who they are and how they live. I think that while I am the same person, I will never live the same way as I did before. Life, and living a healthy life are things that are too precious to take for granted, and that has in many ways altered my perspective on everything. 
I have been spoiled with time for making, which is one of the best gifts anyone has given me. The day Sandra suggested that I should work part-time and stay home in the studio the rest of the time, means everything to me. I have been pretty good about keeping up with studio time, and I am beginning to have a body of work to show for it. I guess that was the beginning of my living every day in the best way I can. Making is vital to who I am.  
More recently I have started to do yoga and Pilate's, I figure if I can keep the rest of me healthy and just deal with the blood thing, then I will be better off. Or at least do all that I can. What I do have to say about all this, is that all the times I said I did not have time for a workout or made excuses, I wish I had just started sooner. I feel better, I have more energy now than I did 3 months ago, and I sleep better. I have been doing this since the beginning of February, and I feel that now it is part of my habit. I rarely miss a class and if I do I try to go to a makeup one. Perhaps the best part is that in the hour that I am in a class, my mind stays there. I do not think of everything else in the world, or that needs to be done. I just move my body, follow directions and forget everything else. Looking forward to spring, and playing in the dirt, planting some things, and making every moment count. Not all of them will be good, I am still a realist, but as long as they are full of living that is what matters. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014


The first week of March has swept on by and the weather went from a snowy/icey mess, into this amazing, almost 70 degree, Richmond in March, wonderfulness!!! If you can't tell I am over winter, I have been over it since January. I did take some time this week, while I was un-motivated to do little more than stitch, to make an alphabet sampler. It was a nice break from the speed sewing I am used to, and gave me time to catch up on some Oscar movies. (I loved Blue Jasmine, and American Hustle, and August Osage County). I used the pattern from to make this sampler, that will be going to baby Ella.  

Love the hunter boots! 

and the tiny winter cabin, with the bunny... 

All together it took me about 3 days to get this finished. I used the colors that I felt like using from my collection, but I do like her suggestions. I pinned it and framed it myself, all in all I think it turned out pretty sweet for a new little baby. I am even considering making another one for myself. 


Another finished quilt, that was finally photographed outside is my "collage" quilt. I call this "collage" because my goal was to make fabric appear as if it were paper that was pieced together to make a pattern, that flowed through itself. Or in short... I wanted to mimic the look of old letters and ledgers and papers with the peeks of color coming through them. I am pleased with how the final project ended up. I love that it doesn't really have a beginning or an end, this pattern and play on color could go on forever, the viewer is left to decide. 

The photo above is of the back of the top, before I quilted the layers together. I was fascinated by the back on this quilt and did not want to finish it for a while longer than necessary because I wanted to admire it for a bit. I might one day do a series simply based on the backs of the pieced tops. 

The top of "collage" is all paper-pieced, and then pieced together. I did all of the top stitching on this quilt in addition to the piecing. 

The back is made of some leftover prints and larger piece of fabric. Improv style. 

Nice drape. 


I finally took photographs of this camping quilt, which was finished sometime back in the fall. The colors that I used for this are a bit out of my normal routine, but I did enjoy making this and having fun really just playing with it, with no real idea where it was going to end up. I started by paper-piecing each of the animals, or camp related objects, and then worked the rows around them. This is definitely a project that I made solely for the fun of making it. 

The back was made using leftovers and a large chunk of brown with tiny dot print fabric. I am pleased with this final outcome, and did learn to just let go and make in the process of doing it. 

Monday, February 17, 2014


This Gnome is the best image that I can find to describe how I feel about this month. In general February is just not a great time of year for me... I did meet Sandra in February, four years ago so that did help make it better, and it does make me smile to think of those days. Other than that, I really could just skip the cold, miserable month, that occasionally has a missing day. We have had a much colder winter than normal here in RVA, and while I know that we are usually spoiled we have been cold and even had some snow, sleet, rain, mess this year. I know that some sewists, and artists love days like this to sit in inside and make... I have to agree a rainy day is great, but I could live without the white stuff, not really a fan, (and that is putting it nicely)! So while I long for warmer, longer days I have been cutting up and sewing some things, and trying to gather inspiration from anywhere that I can. 

A few weeks ago I found this gorgeous vintage quilt at an antique store, I was half tempted to buy it, however I keep reminding myself, "I can not rescue all of the old textiles in all the antique stores and estate sales, because that is how hoarders are created." I did take a picture to remember the simple lines of it, the pale colors, paired with bold accents and the aged fabric, so soft. I am putting this around 1930-1940 based on the colors, the pattern and the fabric. It looked as if some of it was made from cotton shirts or even old pajamas. I love finding a textile that is as relevant the day it was made, as it is today. This quilt could be in a modern quilting magazine as easily as on a 1932 bed. It looked to be all cotton and wool batting, sewn and quilted by hand.

It is on my list to get outside and photograph some finished quilts, but in the meantime I started this... All of the hexagon "fabric" that I have been making over the past year, from my scrap bin has now been cut into squares. I am framing each square in a pale fabric and can't wait to get deeper into this project, so far pretty addicting! 

Of course there has been some reading while trying to keep warm. The Country Living, U.K. edition never seems to disappoint, with the most gorgeous covers and great articles. I could almost climb into that room! 

And finally on the book front I have been working my way through this... Wally Lamb's new book. He is such a brilliant writer that does not leave out one detail. I have read all of his books, and while they are not really "fun" reads they do spark a different feeling of depth into the characters lives. It is a bit of a slow read for me, a few pages here and there, but sometimes that is exactly what I want... a book that takes a bit of time, sort of like this winter...

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


I have decided that for this year, I want to continue using this writing platform as a way to showcase what I am making and how I bounce ideas around.... along with the things that I do in my life that I gain inspiration from, traveling, reading, exploring... I am going to use mostly instagram and photos from my phone, so that I can update more frequently. Over the past year of studio time, and part-time work I have learned that to have time to post, the editing process from my camera is very time consuming, and in the end I can convey a similar image quickly and in real-time, that is important to me. I will still photograph the finished works and other things with a real camera, I am not giving up on it completely. I am trying to get back to posting more regularly though, I hope that the more filtered photographs are still interesting to anyone that is reading. 

It has been a bitter cold start to the year with snow every week. I am not a fan of winter weather, I much prefer the regular 50-60 degree winter here in Richmond. It has definitely kept me inside sewing though, and I hope to take some quilt photos outside before the snow completely melts away. I have been working on this quilt for longer than I would have liked, with some medical stuff that came up and the holidays it was just one of those projects that has taken longer than expected. I am pleased with the way the top of the quilt turned out. I wanted a paper-collage feel to this project and I think that I have accomplished that. This week I am going to work on the back and the binding. I have decided that I want to hand tie this piece. Something about the traditional fabrics, which some are, mixed with the
un-conventional layout and the then traditional hand tying just sounds like a good mix to me. 

I love how the pieces are all meeting. 

Quilt top... I love how it keeps the eye moving around like a paper collage does. 

Also on my mind lately, the underside of textiles... how they show the structure and the shape of the piece.  

Especially loving the back of this quilt top... almost makes me not want to cover it...